Clippers Use Last Season’s ABCCL Championship, Old and New Friendships as Fuel

Jul 13 2017 ABCCL League News | Comments Off on Clippers Use Last Season’s ABCCL Championship, Old and New Friendships as Fuel

By: Matt Lamb

 Freehold, NJ – On August 6, 2016 the Freehold Clippers defeated the three-time defending champions, Monmouth Monarchs, to capture their first ABCCL Championship. While the team has definitely changed from the 2016 to the 2017 season, it has not dissolved. Rather, it has evolved.

After the first few weeks of the current campaign, the feeling around the team was loose and full of fun with the players high-fiving and joking with Head Coach Gerry Patrizio. John Moschella (Little Silver, NJ/ Tufts University, MA) has seen progression at both an individual level and from a team perspective.

“As you keep moving forward with the same team you feel more comfortable on the field,” he said. “We played really well last year but we lost a lot of guys, so we knew what we had some big shoes to fill.  We’re doing well again so it’s clear that we’re meshing together after some rough patches at the beginning of the year.”

The players from last season know what they’re playing for, as they still remember the moment they won the Jerry Lillis Championship Cup at Brookdale Community College. “We ground out wins all year and in the end we got what we earned. I’m glad everyone got to experience winning the championship,” said Clipper veteran, Stephen Edelstein (Staten Island, NY/ Stockton University, NJ).

This season, the Clippers return seven players from the 2016 championship squad, and while it’s apparent that the team has changed, it’s hard to tell the difference. “In the beginning it was a little weird with everyone coming off their college seasons and being unfamiliar with nearly everyone else,” said Matt Guarino (Jackson, NJ/ Widener University, PA). “But once we relaxed and became familiar with each other, we started to string wins together and play the way we want to.”

The team prides itself on playing sound baseball: Making the right plays, helping out teammates, and most importantly, enjoying the game they love while getting wins. It’s a mentality that has helped Clipper players progress over the years, and the level of preparedness the ABCCL offers players keeps them coming back.

“The ABCCL has done so much for me,” said Edelstein. “It has gotten me well prepared for my spring season at school and it offers plenty of opportunities for quality at-bats and to test yourself against top competition.”

So what’s in store for 2017? The ‘old’ Clippers are hoping that the new season will help them continue to grow together, like last year’s team did. “It’s never a fast process but we are close,” Edelstein added. “When you play our brand of baseball, everything starts to come together.”

More importantly, the current squad has added fuel to the fire in order to make a run at defending their first title, and for the new guys, to add a second trophy to the Clipper collection. “For me personally, I missed the championship game last year, so I am really hungry and definitely looking to repeat. I’m confident we all have our eyes on the same prize,” Moschella said.